In 2016 we will…
Practice mindful eating.
First things first, what is mindful eating? Let’s put it in context…
You know when you’ve had a really rubbish day at work, your train was delayed, it’s late, you’re hungry and all the naughty food in the kitchen is calling your name the second you step through the front door? And when you’ve had an argument with your boyfriend and the only thing that’s going to make it better is that huge tub of Ben & Jerry’s in the freezer? Well, both of those examples are exact opposites of what mindful eating should be!
As humans, we are heavily influenced by our emotions and in times of stress, tiredness and other extreme emotional situations we can often rely on food to lift our mood. However, this seemingly positive uplift and short lived burst of energy is followed by the inevitable crash and burn making things a whole lot worse.
OK, so we know all too well what emotional eating is, but how can we convert that into mindful eating? Mindfulness, in a nutshell, is the process of living live in the moment i.e. fully immersing yourself in just one thing at a time, to achieve maximum enjoyment, appreciation and benefits. Therefore, mindful eating is all about knowing when you are hungry, how hungry you are, recognising what your body is telling you it needs, as well as enjoying the taste, feel, smell and sight of the food you are eating.
This all takes practice and involves a lot of hard work in order to change bad habits, but we’ve put together a few tips to get you started:
- Slow down – Chew your food thoroughly and carefully, enjoying the taste of each and every mouthful. One thing you can do to help you with this is to put your cutlery down in between mouthfuls.
- Colour – Choosing colourful foods are not only pleasing to the eye and therefore makes you appreciate your food, but it is also better for you. The more colours, the bigger the variety of nutrients in the food and that is certainly going to help you reach your 5-a-day.
- Little and often – Eating five smaller meals a day, rather than three bigger ones is far better for you and will help prevent you having energy spikes. Make sensible food choices and split your meals into breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack and dinner and you will find that you’re no longer reaching for the biscuit tin and making bad food decisions, because your appetite is already satiated.
- Plan – By planning in advance what meals you’re having for the week and by ensuring you always have enough healthy snacks in your handbag or desk drawer you are far less likely to binge or eat unnecessarily.
- Switch off the TV – TV is a mindless eaters worst enemy. We’ve all been guilty of it; dinner on a tray, sat on the sofa with Eastenders on the telly. But, when you’re watching TV, you’re not concentrating on the food you’re putting in your mouth, which means you’re not really enjoying it, you don’t recognise when you’re full and the likelihood is you’re eating far more than you would’ve done if you were sat at the table, TV off.